Miami University and the Enduring Legacy of Freedom Summer

A conversation with authors Wil Haygood '76 and Jeff Pegues '92

By Claire Wagner, university news and communications

Authors and Miami alumni Wil Haygood and Jeff Pegues will hold a public conversation on race in America through the lens of Freedom Summer, a marker year in U.S. civil rights, at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.

Haygood, ’76, and Pegues, ’92, will present the inaugural program in a series that will explore the Spirit of ’64: Miami University and the Enduring Legacy of Freedom Summer. About 800 volunteers trained in Oxford in 1964 before heading south to register black voters and set up Freedom Schools and community centers.

Haygood is a prize-winning biographer and author of seven nonfiction books. He is the Boadway Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Miami following a reporting career that included being a national correspondent and foreign correspondent at The Boston Globe and The Washington Post.

His most recent book is Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America, which, like many of Haygood’s other books, has received multiple literary prizes. In his career, Haygood has won a National Headliner Award, a New England Associated Press Award, and a Sunday Magazine Editors Award, among others, and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The Butler: A Witness to History has been translated into 12 languages.

Pegues, CBS News justice and Homeland Security correspondent since 2013, has recently released Black and Blue: Inside the Divide Between Police and Black America. He has more than two decades of reporting experience covering stories of national and international importance.

Pegues has led the network's coverage of the investigation into recent terrorist attacks and Russia’s election interference and is considered one of the most informed voices on the conflict between the black community and police.

He is the recipient of three Emmy Awards, numerous local and national Emmy Award nominations, among other awards, and was part of the CBS News team that earned an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Cost is $20 per person and includes light refreshments, the lecture, museum entry and copies of Pegues’ and Haygood’s most recent books. Registration is due by Oct. 20. Space is limited. Register online.

The event is sponsored by the Miami University Alumni Association in partnership with the university’s office of the president and office of institutional diversity.

The series will explore how the events of Freedom Summer became a catalyst for progress and change far beyond Oxford. Freedom Summer epitomized a commitment to social justice and community engagement that undergirds Miami's 21st-century emphasis on diversity, equality and opportunity. Miami is striving to become a model of inclusive excellence.